Shipping facts which may surprise you…

Shipping is by far the most cost effective way to move large volumes of goods globally, which is the main reason the Shipping industry has become so vast in comparison to its air and rail counterparts.

Many people do not consider the origins of our international goods; we may know which company produced them, but not much about the journey they have been on to reach us, where products were made and how they got here!

Let’s take a moment to consider this, by looking at some surprising shipping facts!

Shipping Facts:

  • Over 10,000 shipping containers are lost at sea every year.
  • The largest container ship in the world in 2003 was around 8,000 TEU. 14 years later ships are exceeding 21,000 TEU, almost 3 times more volume!
  • A Shipping container’s average life span is around 25 years.
  • Container shipping is estimated to be two and a half times more energy efficient than rail and 7 times more than road.
  • More than 90% of shipping containers are manufactured in China.
  • Currently there are over 17 million shipping containers in the world; they make around 200 million trips per year.
  • There are more than 10 types of shipping containers each designed to best support the goods they are holding (examples include: car, dry storage, refrigerated, open top and drums).
  • Containers are not just being used for the movement of goods; they are now being used for housing, schools, cafés, shops and swimming pools!
  • Not every shipping container is inspected… some complete their journeys unmonitored.
  • All containers used for international transport must have a valid “Container Safety Convention” (CSC); this is essentially a ‘container passport’.
  • As of 2017, the OOCL Hong Kong is the world’s biggest container ship at 21,413 TEU and built at a cost of over £125 million.
  • Some container ships are so large they can hold up to 40,000 cars (this is equivalent to 4 football pitches of deck space).
  • There are currently over 55,000 active merchant ships worldwide.
  • Two ships are lost at sea every day.
  • There are almost 5,000 ports in the world.
  • Felixstowe is the largest port in the UK, handling around 4 million TEU per year.

As the need for goods increases globally, it will be interesting to monitor how some of the above facts will change or increase due to consumer demand.

Do you have a shipping fact not listed above? Please comment and share!

Written by Amber Pittard – Global Account Manager at Alchemy Global Talent Solutions